26 Types of Purple Gemstones in Jewelry

Purple gemstones are a rich, magnificent choice of stones for jewelry. A combination of red and blue, violet straddles the spectrum, being warm and cool at the same time. Purple gems glow with a slightly more prevalent red, and make a cool, yet much more attractive choice of gemstones. Do you know the different types of purple stones used in jewelry? Here is a list of purple, as well as lavender, lilac and violet gemstones, arranged from the most expensive to the more affordable.

Gold ring with amethyst, the popular gemstone representing the color purple
A huge violet diamond pendant
Source: The Hope Diamond via Wikimedia Commons

Purple Diamond

While most popular for its white variety, diamond also occurs as violet and purple jewels, which are among the rarest of diamonds. Like the rest of their kind, these violet and purple rocks are the hardest of minerals, and display extraordinary brilliance owing to their high refractive index, making them the most expensive of purple gemstones, with prices of up to $1.5M a carat. Diamond in general is the birthstone for April. In astrology, diamond is the birthstone of the Aries zodiac sign. See —

An alexandrite crystal at night

Alexandrite

Alexandrite is a color-changing gemstone from the mineral chrysoberyl. Beside red or pink, alexandrite can also turn into a purple stone at night under an incandescent light, while appearing green at daytime. A rare mineral, the color-changing gemstone is the most valuable of purple gemstones next to diamond with prices of up to $45,000 per carat. Alexandrite is a traditional birthstone for June.

A purple stone of taaffeite
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Taaffeite

Beside red, taaffeite is the first and only mineral that was discovered after the stone was cut and faceted. Formerly mistaken to have been a variety of spinel, the purple stone was identified to be a different mineral by Richard Taaffe, after whom the gemstone was named. Taaffeite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, and is accordingly among the most valuable of purple gemstones at around $6,000 a carat.

A cut purple garnet
Source: WesternDevil via Wikimedia Commons

Purple Garnet

While most popular in red, garnet also occurs as purple stones. The purple crystals come from the varieties of garnet called pyrope and spessartine. Blue garnet, the rarest of all garnets, itself turns purple under an incandescent light. This color-changing garnet is among the most expensive of purple gemstones with prices of up to $3,000 a carat. Garnet in general is the birthstone for January. In astrology, garnet is Aquarius birthstone.

A rough piece of purple opal
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Purple Opal

While most valuable in black and most common in white, opal also occurs as purple stones. The purple is found mostly in the flash or play of colors found on the body. When cut to include only this play of colors, the opal stone can appear entirely purple. Opal in general is the birthstone for October. In astrology, opal is a birthstone for Libra.

An exquisite purple crystal of sapphire
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Purple Sapphire

Though most popular in blue, sapphire also occurs as purple stones. This purple jewel comes from the mineral corundum, all varieties of which are called sapphire except for red, which is known as ruby. There also exists a color-change variety of sapphire, which shifts from blue or green outdoor, to a violet stone under an incandescent light indoor. While a traditional birthstone for April, sapphire in general is the modern birthstone for September. In astrology, sapphire is the birthstone of Taurus.

Tourmaline crystals with purple base
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Purple Tourmaline

A gemstone found in all the colors of the rainbow, tourmaline also occurs as purple stones. These purple crystals come from the species of tourmaline called elbaite, including the highly valuable Paraiba tourmaline. Though the pink variety was specified, all colored tourmalines are commonly regarded as birthstone for October. In astrology, tourmaline is a birthstone for Leo.

Purple spinel on the rock
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Purple Spinel

While most popular in red, spinel also occurs as purple stones. Glassy in clarity and luster, this purple semi-precious stone is pale in intensity, and therefore appears lavender or lilac rather than actually purple. Pegged at 7.5 to 8 in the Mohs scale, the purple crystal is quite hard and durable, making the purple gem very suitable for jewelry.

A violet crystal of tanzanite
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Tanzanite

While also found in blue, tanzanite is most popularly known to occur as purple stones, and is the modern exemplification of purple gemstones. Discovered only in 1967 in Tanzania (hence the name tanzanite), this purple crystal is a variety of zoisite, which is a glassy mineral also found in green and yellow. Tanzanite has become quite a popular purple gem that the relatively new gemstone was designated as modern birthstone for December.

Zircon in different colors, including purple
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Purple Zircon

Often made a substitute to diamond, zircon is an excellent gemstone, be it in terms of clarity, luster or hardness. While most popular in blue, zircon also occurs as purple stones. Zircon is a traditional birthstone for December. In astrology, the gemstone is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo.

Purple crystals of idocrase
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Purple Idocrase

Idocrase is an alternate name for the mineral vesuvianite. Beside yellow and green, idocrase also occurs as purple stones. This purple crystal gets its color from manganese inclusion. For that reason, the purple stone is separately identified in mineralogy as mangan-vesuvianite.

A cut iolite stone
Source: Humanfeather / Michelle Jo via Wikimedia Commons

Iolite

Beside blue, iolite also occurs as violet stones. In fact, the name iolite comes from the Greek for “violet.” Known in mineralogy as cordierite, this violet gem may be bluish in shade. The violet stone can be glassy in clarity and luster, with a hardness of 7 to 7.5 in the Mohs scale.

A purple crystal of apatite
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Purple Apatite

Apatite is a group of minerals that make a good source of phosphorous and are accordingly used in the manufacture of fertilizer. While most commonly green, apatite also occurs as purple stones. The purple gemstone is transparent to translucent in clarity, with a glassy luster and a hardness of 5 in the Mohs scale.

A lavender crystal of kunzite
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Kunzite

Kunzite is the violet variety of spodumene, as hiddenite is the green. Named after the jeweler George Frederick Kunz, the glassy, violet gem is pale in intensity, and therefore comes across as lilac rather than purple. The violet crystal gets its color from the minimal inclusion of manganese into the otherwise colorless mineral.

Want to see the most celebrated of all these purple gemstones? Jump to —

PURPLE GEMSTONES: 10 Most Celebrated
A rich purple crystal of scapolite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Purple Scapolite

Scapolite is a group of minerals that also occur as violet stones. The violet crystals of scapolite used in jewelry come from the mineral marialite. The violet gem is transparent with a glassy luster, and a hardness of 6.5 to 7 in the Mohs scale. A rare mineral, marialite is a favorite collector’s stone as well as gemstone.

Purple Amethyst Earrings

Amethyst

Amethyst is the classic representation of purple gemstones. Since ancient times, when purple gems are mentioned, amethyst almost always comes to the fore. This purple gemstone is the violet variety of quartz. The purple gem was highly valuable then and was in fact counted among the precious stones, until the 18th century when sizable supply of amethyst was discovered in Brazil, bringing down the value of the purple stone.

Beside the purple gemstone, amethyst also has other varieties, including the lavender amethyst and chevron amethyst, which displays bands of white quartz. Amethyst is the birthstone for February. In astrology, the purple crystal is the birthstone of the Pisces zodiac sign. See also Amethyst: Stone of Awareness.

Bright violet crystals of fluorite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Purple Fluorite

Found in a multiplicity of colors, colored fluorite most commonly occurs as purple crystals. Many of fluorite varieties are known to exhibit fluorescence, where they glow under ultraviolet light. In fact, the word fluorescent was invented after the gemstone itself. The purple crystal can be very bright and vivid, indeed. However, fluorite is a rather soft mineral, with hardness pegged at 4 in the Mohs scale.

A pinkish purple crystal of topaz
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Purple Topaz

While most popular in yellow and blue, topaz also occurs as purple stones. A variety of imperial topaz, this purple crystal is a rather rare color of the topaz mineral. Varying from light violet to deep purple, the violet crystal gets its color from the inclusion of chromium into the otherwise colorless mineral. Topaz in general is the gemstone of the zodiac sign Sagittarius.

Published August 3, 2014